Saturday, October 31, 2009

Kitchen Updates

I have been cooking a lot lately, blogging not so much... but here's some fun stuff for this weekend.

I signed up for home delivery of organic produce from Washington's Green Grocer. I'm very excited about this! Here's my first week's haul... romaine lettuce, apples, bananas, oranges, pears, yellow squash, russet potatoes, parsnips, green beans and butternut squash. I plan to have a good time experimenting with things... like trying a roasted parsnip and pear soup tomorrow, hopefully. Plus I plan to make my first beef stew, hooray!

This afternoon I tried another new recipe - Arroz Con Pollo.

This was originally for a crock pot, and used chicken pieces, but I made it with cubed chicken tenders and cooked it in a big soup pot on the stove instead.

1 lb chicken, cubed
1 can Italian-style stewed tomatoes (or no salt added)
1 jar roasted red peppers, drained (slice into strips if you want, but I left them whole)
1 cup chicken broth (low sodium, low fat preferably)
1 bag frozen peas
1 package Spanish-style yellow rice with seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder or garlic salt

First I browned the chicken in a little olive oil in the soup pot. I added about 1/2 onion, diced, as well, and 1 tsp black pepper.

Then add all ingredients, bring to a boil, and let simmer. Stir often. It took about an hour for the rice to cook and plump up and absorb most of the liquid. Tasty.

Here it is cooking:

And here it is dished up for lunches:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Plant Challenge

So this past week I tried to eat 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. I learned a few things. First is that salad is your friend and a great way to get your veggies in. I have an enormous capacity to eat and when you pair that with eating a salad the size of a mixing bowl, then it's a recipe for healthy eating. I can make a salad that equals four servings of vegetables and plow through it easily. The hard thing is eating servings of vegetables that aren't salads. The hard thing is that I can live on salads all day long. The other salad related revelation is to find a good salad dressing. J and I bought this AMAZING strawberry-chipotle balsamic and a kickass fig syrup that makes the most divine salad dressing. Seriously, a salad with that stuff is like candy. Finally, I am learning I really hate cooking greens like kale. I don't know why I can totally love eating salad but hate eating kale but there it is.

Anyway, in terms of results, I consistently ate more than 5 servings a day but dear god, ten was an act of god. I hit ten servings twice, both on weekends when I had the time to go to the farmer's market. The hard part is the fruit because there are only so many carbs I can eat and I am reluctant to eat fruit that have carbs. But that is solely dependent on what fruit is available because a perfectly ripe apple is like candy.

Here's how it shook out:

Day 1 - 8 servings
Day 2 - 9 servings
Day 3 - 10 servings
Day 4 - 10 servings
Day 5 - 6 servings
Day 6 - 7 servings
Day 7 - 6 servings

Monday, October 26, 2009

Rocking the test results

Saturday, I got my blood drawn and my urine specimened to see what progress I've made dealing with diabetes. It was about 13 months since I was first diagnosed and five months since my last set of test results. In the intervening five months I went off all medication regulating my blood glucose so any result I had would be purely based on my diet and exercise. From the title of the post, you know how things turned out.

Here's the one year ago picture:

A1C level (measuring glucose) - 9.7 (standard is between 4.5 and 6.0)

ALBUMIN/CREATININE ratio (measuring how well my body able to retain protein in the bloodstream) - 122.5 (standard is below 29.9)

Overall cholestorol - 300 (standard is below 236)

HDL (the good cholesterol) - 40 (you should be above 40)

LDL (the bad cholestrol) - 137 (you should be less than 129)

Triglyceride (fat in your bloodstream) - 650 (should should be less than 199!)

So what are the numbers today?

A1C level (measuring glucose) - 5.1

ALBUMIN/CREATININE ratio (measuring how well my body able to retain protein in the bloodstream) - 14.5

Overall cholestorol - 151 (standard is below 236)

HDL (the good cholesterol) - 57 (you should be above 40)

LDL (the bad cholestrol) - 77 (you should be less than 129)

Triglyceride (fat in your bloodstream) - 83 (should should be less than 199!)

So there it is. I have to acknowledge that the Albumin/creatinine numbers and the cholesterol numbers are affected by the medication I'm taking but my doctor and nutritionist say those things don't mean bupkiss if I ain't living right. And the thing is, living right isn't a punishment. Last week I ate CHICKEN FRIED STEAK WITH BEER GRAVY! I made sure to forego the mashed potatoes and have a double order of roasted veggies but seriously folks - CHICKEN FRIED STEAK. What started out as one hellish month and a serious fear of Splenda has morphed into a lifestyle with a lot of Splenda desserts. Thanks y'all for giving me a space to think these things through. Let's keep on keeping on.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Challenge

I work at an organization that promotes healthy living and I get to interview someone on their project to get members of their community to eat 5-10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. It's really fascinating because they are working with a low-literacy, limited English proficient, immigrant population. The learning is very experiential and visual. What I find to be a great success story was the person running the program felt like she had to actually eat 5-10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day so she wasn't spewing hypocriticial bs. And after six months on the program she lost 30 pounds. She didn't do anything else. In fact she was telling me about how she's also be eating nachos and steak. But she was eating a heck of a lot less nachoes and steak because she had to get her 10 servings in. So here's my challenge - eating 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

Here's a handy guide for those of you who are unfamiliar with serving sizes for fruits and vegetables.

In this challenge I have amended the rules:

1. Canned fruits and veggies don't count (although frozen does as long as it's not packed in syrup)

2. Beans and legumes don't count. They are the great superfood but they are like loaded with carbs. Great if you are a hunter who hunts and forages all day. Bad if you are diabetic.

3. Hell to the no with juice. It's not a fruit, it's sugar.

So here goes. I'll check in weekly about this but I am curious to see how realistic 10 servings is.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

This is how to keep people healthy

For those of you who live outside of California, I wanted to sing the praises of the above Kaiser Permanente ad. Considering we have a mixed race President with his white mother, Asian American sister, and African immigrant father, this ad acknowledges how every family can be a family of color (as well as a queer family). One of the important things about taking charge of your life is seeing yourself reflected in healthy living. This huge, multi-generational, interracial, queer family reflects the reality of so many of us. It says we need to stay healthy to see how large and diverse and INTERESTING our family can become. Bravo Kaiser Permanente!